Four people familiar with the situation announced that Amazon is launching a digital asset business, and an NFT initiative is expected to launch in the spring.
Amazon to launch digital collectibles
According to multiple sources, Amazon has been pitching its digital collectibles concept to some of the industry’s biggest names. These are said to include layer-1 blockchains, blockchain-based game startups and developers, and digital asset exchanges. According to two sources, blockchain-based games and other NFT applications that work with games are a major focus.
One example in the works is getting Amazon customers to play crypto games in exchange for free NFTs.
The plan is still in the works. The e-commerce behemoth appears to have set April as the date for revealing its massive crypto plans to the world. Amazon’s “entry into the space” is “a big one” for crypto for a variety of reasons.
“We knew it was possible,” the source declared. “But now it seems like it’s really happening. That’s going to affect the existing players in the space — if they execute and do this right and are smart about it.”
Based one of the sources, the push is being led by Amazon executives who have spoken with at least one family office in the last few months. The same source said that the plan at the time was to do at least one NFT drop with an artist. Amazon’s Web3 strategy appears to have changed significantly since then.
In terms of personnel, it was not immediately clear who is in charge of Amazon’s NFT initiative. The platform’s details, which would include some NFT gaming projects, are still being worked out, but two sources say it will be run by Amazon itself, rather than Amazon Web Services, the company’s popular web-hosting service (AWS).
A fifth source also stated that Amazon has recently investigated a number of other Web3 projects. According to one source, Amazon would most likely need to hire a number of employees from within the company to work on both the platform and its other crypto projects.
Amazon Web Service hires Web3 developers
Amazon Web Services has occasionally posted jobs for Web3 developers and engineers, but the e-commerce site isn’t as well known for its work in the crypto or blockchain spaces. The Amazon Coins program, which was launched in 2013, is still active, but it functions more like a simple loyalty program than a crypto initiative.
Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, has previously stated that the company is open to selling NFTs and that the company is not opposed to cryptocurrencies in general.
It’s also unclear how far Amazon wants Web3 to go and what its ultimate goals are. It’s unclear whether the company intends to compete with OpenSea and Rarible, but two sources said that a successful launch would pose a significant threat to both of those companies.
“With the [number] of customers Amazon has, they could make a huge splash in the NFT marketplace,” one source said
According to Dunn Analytics, more than 2.5 million people have used OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace in terms of trading volume. There are now several well-known locations where you can buy and sell NFTs.
Ava Labs, the company behind the Avalanche blockchain, recently signed a deal with AWS. Ava Labs CEO Emin Gün Sirer described the agreement as “a huge boon for both individual and enterprise developers to be able to spin up nodes and test networks on the fly with AWS in whatever legal jurisdiction makes the most sense for them.” A representative from Amazon did not respond right away.